Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Al-Farouq was ranked as one of the top college recruits in the nation for the class of 2008. He lead Norcross High School to back-to-back Georgia 5A state titles his junior and senior year, averaging 23.1 points and 11.2 rebounds as a senior. That same year he was a member of the 2008 McDonald's All-American Team. He then committed to Wake Forest and in his freshman season he was selected to the ACC All-Freshman Team, being the only player in the conference to average double-doubles with 29 double-doubles in his 2 years. He declared for the 2010 NBA Draft where he was selected 8th overall by the Clippers, playing every game that year. In 2012 he competed at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for the Nigerian national team. After playing for the Clippers, he was traded to the Hornets/Pelicans and is currently playing for the Dallas Mavericks.